2021 NFL Mock Draft: Version 2
Welcome back to my 2021 NFL Mock Draft series! With Pro Days wrapping up and the 24/7 rumor cycle in the league there is always draft news coming out and thus things to tinker with. Remember, this is not what I think team necessarily should do, rather in the end it is what I think they may do in the draft; I also do not mock trades.
Here is Version 1 if you didn’t catch it, or want to check out some of the differences. Now let’s dig into Version 2!
Pick 1 – Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence (QB – Clemson)
No changes here. I haven’t seen or heard anything to make me think this one is in question. I expect him to come in as a QB2 in his first year. That said, I still like Lawrence a ton, expect him to eventually be a long-term QB1 and I think offense as a whole should be markedly improved in 2021.
Pick 2 – New York Jets: Zach Wilson (QB – BYU)
I still think this is Zach Wilson, but the Jets front office does not appear to be leaking much of anything. This could mean they are not sure what they want to do, they are hoping to get a bite in a trade down or just aren’t telling people.
As I was writing this Sam Darnold was traded, so it is even more clear to me that they are taking a QB they plan on starting right away (also liking finding a cheap veteran brought in for alleged competition). Either way, Wilson seems the most likely of the QBs here based on current info, but none of the top quarterbacks would surprise me.
Pick 3 – San Francisco 49ers: Mac Jones (QB – Alabama)
First change from the last one. It really does not seem like Fields is in contention for this pick for whatever reason. A lot of people seem to think it is Lance or Jones, with the coaching staff and front office allegedly split on what to do. Most of the chatter seems to be Mac Jones right now, so I will go with that.
Mac Jones does seem to fit the Kirk Cousins, Matt Ryan style of quarterback that head coach Kyle Shanahan has had success with, and Mac Jones does seem to be more ready to play now when compared to Lance. I’m not expecting anything amazing for him right away, especially on a run heavy offense, but if it it Jones, long-term I can see him with a low QB1 ceiling long term; whether he hits that or not remains to be seen.
Pick 4 – Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Pitts (TE – Florida)
This pick stays the same. I could see a wide receiver, and I do believe this is a coveted spot for a team looking to trade up, whether for a quarterback (more likely) or a team wanting to secure their top pass catcher or offensive tackle before Cincinnati (less likely).
I could see Ja’Marr Chase here too, but I just feel Pitts fits a need better and is more likely than a wide receiver. The next pick I have can’t be ruled out going here either, as the Falcons do need offensive line help.
Pick 5 – Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell (OT – Oregon)
Keeping this one the same too for now; hope you aren’t getting bored yet, the changes are coming. I feel there are three very good offensive tackles at the top of this class so trading down, or taking a different one if they prefer is not out of the question.
Taking the next pick, Ja’Marr Chase, is a real possibility too. Wide receiver is deep in this class, just like offensive tackle, so it will really come down to the drop off they have in their tiers of their top pass catcher to top linemen. If Sewell goes at pick 4, it will be real interesting to see what Cincinnati does if they keep the pick. In that scenario I think it comes down to whether they like Chase or Pitts more, and then how much Chase having played with Burrow before counts. Anyway, I still think it is Sewell.
Pick 6 – Miami Dolphins: Ja’Marr Chase (WR – LSU)
The pick is the same here but it will really come down to (I think) which pass catcher is available that they like the best. It is possible that Chase and Pitts are gone at this point in the draft.
Pick 7 – Detroit Lions: Jaylen Waddle (WR – Alabama)
Changing it up now, going with a new WR1 for Detroit. Giving Jared Goff a better wide receiver than what they currently have; their top three are Breshad Perriman (one-year deal), Tyrell Williams (one-year deal) and Quintez Cephus (2nd year player).
Waddle is a big play threat with great speed and acceleration who can turn short throws into big plays; I feel he fits what Jared Goff liked a lot, and Goff will need receiving help. The draft seems to be where they will have to go to get it.
Pick 8 – Carolina Panthers: Micah Parsons (LB – Penn State)
With quarterback seemingly not a need now with the April 5th trade for Sam Darnold, the Panthers could go many directions here. If Parsons is still here I think they take him. Shaq Thompson is the only current likely starter (Denzel Perryman and Hasson Reddick being the other two) signed long-term; Perryman is on a two-year deal they can easily get out of after one, and Reddick is on a one year deal.
Parsons is the best linebacker in the draft (I don’t think it is overly close right now on that front) and would be a great replacement for Luke Kuechley, who retired in January 2020.
Pick 9 – Denver Broncos: Trey Lance (QB – North Dakota State)
I probably had Alijah Vera-Tucker too high here last time; it sounds like he’s more likely to be drafted as a guard, and while it wouldn’t be unheard of to see a guard go this high (Quenton Nelson went sixth in 2018) I do not see Vera-Tucker on that level. Do I really think Lance falls this far? No, probably not. With how the top five quarterbacks seem to be coveted this year I assume Lance goes in the top six, but without mocking trades, this is what we have.
The general belief of how the top grouping of quarterbacks is seen seems to have Fields at as the 5th taken for whatever reason, so I’ll stick with that for now (it is not where I have Fields personally). Lance could sit, if needed, behind Lock for a year and then takeover, but with what we saw of Lock previously, he likely wouldn’t keep Lance at bay the whole year.
I would love this spot long-term for Lance and the offensive weapons in Denver. Denver appears to be a team a quarterback away from being a major player in the NFL playoffs, and in a division with Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes they need a high ceiling quarterback to compete.
Pick 10 – Dallas Cowboys: Rashawn Slater (OT – Northwestern)
I want to project Devonta Smith here, and while I do not rule it out as a possibility (Michael Gallup is a free agent and after this year Amari Cooper could be cut or traded each of the next three years with minimal dead money[between $6 and $2 million]) I do think they will address a need. So with that, I am keeping Slater here, as the offensive line needs help and I like the cornerbacks I think will be left at the top of the second better than the offensive tackles. Make no mistake, there will be good ones of both at the top of the second round of the daft, just going of my own rankings I like this set-up better.
Pick 11 – New York Giants: Azeez Ojilari (EDGE – Georgia)
Azeez is much higher this time, but he is arguably the best 3-4 EDGE rusher in the draft in terms of ceiling/floor/college production for more than one year. I don’t think he does well as well as a defensive end, but could play there in hybrid fronts. Pass rusher is need for the Giants and I think he fits well here. I think this area of the draft is the top of where you could see Azeez go.
Pick 12 – Philadelphia Eagles: Devonta Smith (WR – Alabama)
I am giving the Eagles the other Alabama wide receiver here, after Waddle being here last time. Despite what he put on tape and how explosive he is, I do think some teams could be turned off to Devonta based on his size. That could be an issue here too, as 2020 first round pick Jalen Reagor is only 5’11” (Smith is about 6’1” and 170 lbs according to reports), but adding another playmaker early in this draft for Jalen Hurts is a must to me.
Pick 13 – Los Angeles Chargers: Patrick Surtain II (CB – Alabama)
The Chargers’ cornerback depth is filled with players most of us have not heard of, and I don’t see them passing on Surtain if he is there. Given the cornerback depth in the draft, if one of their top offensive tackles falls I think they would give serious consideration to that as well, as the offensive line still needs to improve to protect franchise quarterback Justin Herbert. Jaycee Horn or Caleb Farley are the other cornerbacks in consideration here.
Pick 14 – Minnesota Vikings: Jaelan Phillips (DE – Miami)
Patrick Peterson and Mackensie Alexander both signed with the Vikings, but they are just one year deals. With cornerback Jeff Gladney seemingly in legal trouble, cornerback is suddenly a long-term need here. They do still have Cameron Dantzler and Mike Hughes to go with Peterson and Alexander, so I am leaving Phillips here. He fills a need with a high upside guy with proven production; the biggest knock I have on Phillips is prior injuries which could make him fall.
Pick 15 – New England Patriots: Justin Fields (QB – Ohio State)
I think Justin Fields learning from Cam Newton would be great for Fields’ career, and going to New England would also be a great spot for him to show what he can do. Statistics do prove that Fields is an accurate passer, something we know Belichick likes. The things that Fields struggles with can be correct at the NFL level by the right coaching staff, and if Fields falls, I don’t think it is past here. I do think he goes higher than this in the draft, I can’t can’t get all five QBs as high as they likely go without trades.
Pick 16 – Arizona Cardinals: Jaycee Horn (CB – South Carolina)
Keeping this one the same. I have Horn as my top CB in the draft, but whether you prefer him or Surtain, if either falls here I believe they will be the pick (if not another cornerback that they like better).
Pick 17 – Las Vegas Raiders: Trevon Moehrig (S – TCU)
This is a lot higher for Moehrig, quite possibly too high, but with the depth this draft class has in safety and offensive linemen, they may want to take their top rated safety, as opposed to third or fourth rated linemen (not saying he is for them, that’s just how this came together). The Raiders secondary was a mess last year and Moehrig can play all over in it next to Johnathan Abram; this is an area that must improve to compete in a division with Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes.
Pick 18 – Miami Dolphins: Alijah Vera-Tucker (OL – USC)
As mentioned at pick 9, I was moving Alijah down, and I like this spot a lot. The Dolphins need improved interior line play, and while the have worked in the past year to improve it, more is needed to protect franchise quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Tucker is best suited as a guard, which is where he would play for Miami and be an immediate upgrade.
Pick 19 – Washington Football Team: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (LB – Notre Dame)
I had Zaven Collins here last time, but there’s been a lot more buzz around JOK (as he is called) and Washington could use a linebacker like I discussed last time. Offensive tackle is also an area of need, but there is much better depth with that compared to linebacker. JOK is a clear top three linebacker, and after that there is a big drop off for me pre-draft. This would be a great long-term fit for IDP fantasy value as well.
Pick 20 – Chicago Bears: Christian Darrisaw (OT – Virginia Tech)
I think Darrisaw goes higher than this, but the Bears do need offensive line help and if he were to fall here they would pounce. Their line improved after Week 12 last year, but tackle is still a spot of need and Darrisaw would be a huge get to help fill that. It would also help Andy Dalton and David Montgomery/Damien Williams.
Pick 21 – Indianapolis Colts: Kwity Paye (DL – Michigan)
So I forgot to have Kwity in my first mock. Oopsie. I do think he goes round one, and he could go much higher, but I am hoping he goes to a team that runs mainly a 4-3 base to be a defensive end. Yes he could slide inside for a 4-3 on plays and COULD be a 3-4 end, but I do not think it fits him well. For fantasy he could be a high defensive line pick, with solid long-term floor and ceiling if he goes to a 4-3. In Indianapolis he would have a change to start right away and playing with DeForest Buckner would be a great way to start his career.
Pick 22 – Tennessee Titans: Greg Newsome II (CB – Northwestern)
Keeping Newsome here. I think he goes in the middle(ish) of the first round and fits well with the Titans defense, and fills a need.
Pick 23 – New York Jets: Zaven Collins (LB – Tulsa)
The Jets can certainly use linebacker help. They do still have CJ Mosely (unless he is traded, which has been rumored) and signed Jarrad Davis to a one-year deal this offseason, but beyond that it is a bunch of players who they would likely rather not have starting. Collins would add a high upside pass-rushing element I do not think they have right now, while also being able to give run support and handle himself in coverage. This would be another nice IDP spot, although year one would likely have a capped ceiling, unless Mosely is traded.
Pick 24 – Pittsburgh Steelers: Najee Harris (RB – Alabama)
I think Harris goes round one, likely in the latter half. Here or Buffalo are my most likely spots, and they could probably find someone later in the second at 55, but with the team seemingly going for it now, why not get the best one here to help take some pressure of Ben?
Pick 25 – Jacksonville Jaguars: Caleb Farley (CB – Virginia Tech)
Farley is a wild card. The converted wide receiver tore an ACL in 2017 and had back surgery recently. How he handles discussing that and how teams feel in this COVID pre-draft world is anyone’s guess. If he was completely healthy I think he easily goes a lot higher, but with the question marks I am dropping him. This is a good real life spot, but likely not a useful one for fantasy.
Pick 26 – Cleveland Browns: Gregory Rousseau (EDGE – Miami)
Moving him up a spot this time. The Browns have a need here (more of a defensive end type EDGE here than outside linebacker EDGE he’d be in Baltimore), but the reasoning and rationale is the same. He could work on becoming more well rounded and focus on pass rushing on the field, as a part of the second unit behind Takk McKinley, and next year (hopefully) become a starter across the defensive front from Myles Garrett.
Pick 27 – Baltimore Ravens: Jayson Oweh (EDGE – Penn State)
This was the hardest slot for me this time. Oweh is a very interesting player. He has all the physicals tools you’d want, and got pressure last year at Penn State but didn’t get any sacks. I think he’d be able to stay on the second unit behind their current EDGE rushers for a year and then hopefully start next year while playing on passing downs.
A wide receiver like Terrace Marshall Jr is another option even with signing Sammy Watkins, but for now I will give them the EDGE help they need.
Pick 28 – New Orleans Saints: Jamin Davis (LB – Kentucky)
A newcomer to the mock! The Saints need linebacker help (I had JOK here in the last one) and Davis is a fast riser over the past few months, and even more recently with an outstanding Pro Day. Davis would likely be a day one starter (assuming no more rookie/training camp COVID issues), and he and 2020 draft pick Zack Baun could be the making of a nice set of linebackers of the future for the Saints. This would probably not be a great year one IDP spot as starter Demario Davis is likely still around for another year or two.
Pick 29 – Green Bay Packers: Teven Jenkins (OL – Oklahoma State)
Not nearly as exciting as Rondale Moore (who I moved out of the first round), but an important position the Packers need help with. Jenkins could play as a tackle in the future, but could also play guard if needed. The Packers offensive line is filled with spot flexible players, but needs more people you would want starting. Drafting Jenkins for right tackle would seem like a good place to start.
Pick 30 – Buffalo Bills: Carlos Basham Jr (DL – Wake Forest)
I still really like this pick here. I think he fits the Buffalo style of play, fills a need and it this area of the draft is where it start to feel right for where I think he’ll go in the draft.
Pick 31 – Kansas City Chiefs: Samuel Cosmi (OT – Texas)
Lots of rumors of offensive line runs late in this draft, and you can see why; lots of teams can use improved starters, or players to use as depth now and groom for the future. Cosmi, who is long, athletic and strong would have a chance to start of the Chiefs right away. Even after signing Joe Thuney, getting Kyle Long out of retirement and signing center Austin Blythe the work here is not done, especially at tackle.
Pick 32 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jalen Mayfield (OL – Michigan)
Offensive line depth is one area in the draft the Buccaneers seem likely to address as their line played fine, but could use some depth and long term potential. Mayfied could play at tackle or guard for now and end up being a starting tackle of the future for them. Keeping Brady upright and giving him time, while he still plays, is as imperative for Tampa Bay as it is for Kansas City.
Thank you for reading 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Version 2
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